Barenger had an off-day at Taunton on his latest start but has strong claims on his earlier placed efforts. This is tougher than the race won by Shantou Breeze here three weeks ago while Kastani Beach was successful in a lower grade chase over track and trip in March. Olympian Boy is not easily overlooked after a good effort behind Ratify at Chepstow but VENETIAN LAD may just edge this. The latter has been threatening to end a long losing run with a sequence of placed efforts and may finally do so today.
Marky Bob (IRE) 7-2 (10-13) Led to 3rd, tracked winner until after 7th, soon weakened, tailed off, 4th of 5, well behind Fair Dilemma (11-5) at Plumpton 2m 1f hcp chs 0-130 (3) gs in Apr.
Barenger (IRE) 9-4 (11-4) Led until approaching 6th, weakened 4 out, 3rd of 5, 35l behind Itsuptoyou (11-4) at Taunton 2m hcp chs 0-120 (4) gd in Apr.
Olympian Boy (IRE) 8-1 (10-11) Held up in rear, closed 9th, pressing for 4 way tie for close 2nd last, one pace on landing, stayed on towards finish, 5th of 6, 2 3/4l behind Ratify (11-4) at Chepstow 2m 3f hcp chs 0-130 (3) gs in Apr.
Kastani Beach (IRE) 7-2 (10-0) Tracked leaders, outpaced before 4 out, kept on from 2 out, no impression, 4th of 5, 11l behind Suerte Al Salto (11-2) at Plumpton 2m 4f hcp chs 0-125 (3) gs in Apr.
Merchant Of Milan 66-1 (10-13) Raced wide, held up, headway 5th chased leaders next, mistake 4 out, weakened soon after, 4th of 5, 27l behind Festive Affair (10-13) at Newbury 2m 1f nov chs (3) sft in Jan.
Venetian Lad 9-2 (10-8) Held up, closed from 12th, left 3rd when hampered 2 out, kept on same pace, went 2nd towards finish, no impression on winner, 2nd of 8, 4 1/2l behind Friendly Society (10-8) at Fontwell 2m 6f hcp chs 0-120 (4) gd.
Ya Hafed 8-1 (11-0) Soon led, pushed along and joined 2f out, ridden and headed 1f out, stayed on same pace inside final furlong, no extra in 4th final 110 yards, 4th of 5, 3 1/2l behind One Lucky Lady (10-2) at Lingfield 2m n h flat (4) std in Feb.
Lord Of The Dunes 11-2 (10-13) Chased leaders, bumped 2nd, jumped left 6th, outpaced 10th, 5th and no impression before 3 out, 5th of 9, 15l behind Malibu Sun (11-4) at Fontwell 2m 2f hcp chs 0-115 (4) gd.
Shantou Breeze (IRE) 12-1 (11-12) Pressed leader, led approaching 5th until ridden 2 out, rallied to regain lead approaching last, ridden and stayed on gamely flat, won at Plumpton 2m 4f hcp chs 0-100 (5) gd in Apr beating Moneymix (10-13) by 4 1/2l, 6 ran.
Fitandproperjob 10-1 (10-7) Held up in rear, mistake 7th, headway 10th, no impression 2 out, 5th of 9, 17l behind River Purple (11-12) at Uttoxeter 2m 5f hcp chs 0-100 (5) gd.
June French (FR) 11-1 (10-7) Led to 8 out, weakened after 3 out, 5th of 6, well behind Crazy Jack (11-0) at Towcester 2m mdn chs (5) gs.